When worlds collide

Dizziness has proved to be the most perduring of all my symptoms so far. More than one year after my black-out, from time to time, the world around me still begins spinning around.

Color contrast by rekre89

Honestly, I don’t even know whether I’ll ever get rid of this reaction. Not that I actually have the need to. I’ve experienced my dizziness in a bunch of different situations up to now: while walking, while running, while driving and in several other whiles. It turns out it’s no longer that dangerous and, therefore, no longer that scary.

During that lapse of time, lasting about 20-30 seconds, I lose contact with the world around me, I can’t manage to make images come into focus, but nothing worse really happens. I’ve even recently tried a one-foot-stand while vertigo was hitting, just out of curiosity, and I proved myself I could easily keep my balance during that time.

And being the rational beast I am, loving the cause-effect relationships the way I do, I’ve been carefully analyzing those episodes, trying to understand what’s the element that links all of them, what’s the common cause, if any, that triggers that feeling.

The work has obviously proved easier for the latest episodes, those occurred when I was feeling better, because, of course, when your discomfort is milder, it’s way less complicated to dissection and analyze the moments right before the vertigo hits.

Well, I would lie if I wrote that everything is clear to me now, but I’ve definitely managed to collect some pretty interesting hints.

The main triggers for my vertiginous episodes have turned out to be:

  1. the evocation of the moments in which my anxiety was at its most
  2. the moments in which I emotionally open up to the others
  3. the mixing of situations that don’t belong to each other in my mental scheme

I believe point #1 is the easiest one to understand: recalling the worst moments of my anxiety-related sufferings still touches me deeply. I had never felt worse or more scared in my life than in the period in which anxiety hit me bad. That suffering may be partially gone now, but that’s a wound that hasn’t scarred over yet.

Point #2 is quite easy to understand for anybody who knows me. I’ve always been shy and reserved to inconceivable levels; now I’m learning that opening up to other people – yet with due caution – makes me feel better. Revealing my weaknesses, talking about what makes or made me suffer, allowing myself to be the girl I really am, it all helps me face my emotional side, it gives me a chance to reason about it, be aware and accept it in some way. I’ve learned that my weaknesses are nothing to be ashamed of, therefore I’ve stopped feeling compelled to hide them. And it’s surprising how they slowly begin to lose some of their power, when I reveal them and bring them to light. The more I keep my fears away from mine and other people’s sight, the more I allow them to grow, to crawl their roots inside my mind, to take control over my thoughts and my behaviour.

Today, I still feel slightly relieved when I immediately confess my fears to my beloved ones, every time I feel some anxiety starting to grow back.

This new habit to unload my problems, my anxieties and my darkest side upon the people I love may definitely sound selfish. And it actually is, to some extent. But I believe that’s part of what supporting each other means, when it comes to deep and strong relationships.

It probably actually is all about sharing. I wouldn’t expect the others to be able solve any of my problems, to fight away any of my fears, I just need them to listen to me and let them know how I’m feeling. They won’t be able to do much, apart from trying to understand what’s going on in my mind. And the same will happen when roles will be reversed: they’re going to open up their darkest side to me and I’m going to listen carefully, emphatically if I can, but helplessly nevertheless. The real help, here, probably is all in the listening and understanding part.

The third trigger of my anxiety is the most peculiar one, the one that probably defines me more than the others.

Yes, my mind is apparently made of many boxes tidily organized into categories. Here we have the person I am when I’m at work, there we have the person I’m at home. Here you can see what a relationship with a family member is for me, there you can see how I deal with colleagues. Here we have the free-time attitude, there we have the professional approach. Here it is the list of people who are allowed to see the fucking-around-me, there you have the list of those who can only have access to the well-mannered-and-never-inappropriate-me.

This kind of categorization probably is the consequence of my highly-structured and rational mind, it probably is the cause. In any case, the result is that for every person I meet, situation I experience, emotion I feel, I have a very precise label to attach to it that defines the box in which the person/experience/emotion is going to be stored in my mind, possibly forever.

Therefore, if, as an example, I think of myself working in my office, the label I stick on that image is “professional attitude”. That label consequently excludes any possibility for negligent, lazy, indolent, messing-around, laid-back, or even simply relaxed attitude.

To this regard, one of the funniest episodes of dizziness that have occurred to me was the one that hit me while I was allowing myself to a cup of tea in my office, while sitting at my desk with a colleague of mine, chit-chatting and taking a refreshing break for once, like two old friends would have done on their porch on a weekend afternoon.

That’s when the content of two different boxes (the Professional Me and the Off-work Me) shuffled, mixed together and – in this moment of allowance for confusion – originated a very explicative vertigo.

That was one of the clearest revelations that my body has provided so far about how my mind actually works. Dumbing it down a lot: you mix the boxes, you get in trouble.

So here comes the question: what is this newly acquired knowledge about my mental schemes actually useful to?

I don’t really know for sure.

The “and now what?” question still pops up in my head from time to time, when I catch something new about the way my mind works. But something I’m definitely sure about is that I’m immediately fulfilled by a deep sense of pride and pleasure every time I can figure out some root causes for my thoughts, behaviour or physical reactions.

To my super-rational mind, unveiling this kind of links feels very soothing every time. So that’s another reason to keep enjoying my personal journey of self-discovery.

 


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